The Superior Express -

Retirees enjoy Tai Chi exercise


March 12, 2020

Members of the community participate in an ancient Chinese tradition last Thursday at Mankato's Senior Center. Pictured ar (back row, from left) are Dale Park, Janis McDill, Betty Becker, Jeanie Blair, (middle row) Darlene Walker, (front row) Sharlene Kendall, Instructor - Lorelle Boxler and Barbara Peterson.

Tai Chi class has begun at Mankato's Senior Center on Thursday mornings for eight weeks. The classes are led by certified instructor, Lorelle Boxler, RN, BSN from the North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging, Inc. Abby Elkins, manager of the Senior Center, helped organize the program.

"It was kind of a mutual decision to have the classes. They asked if we would be interested in Tai Chi in our county, and I was excited for the opportunity to offer it here," said Elkins.

On the first day the class had 23 official participants, more than the agency had originally planned for. The large number of participants prompted an additional class to be scheduled each Thursday. Class are from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., and 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition and is practiced as a graceful form of exercise. The series of movements is performed in a slow, focused manner and coincides with deep breathing. The sessions include warm-up exercises to prepare the body for the exertion, and cool-down exercises to bring the body back to a resting state. There are six basic core movements and six advanced extension movements. Boxler has been a certified instructor for two years, and said she enjoys sharing Tai Chi with people. "It's beautiful when you learn the whole routine. It's kind of like a line dance, because you learn parts of it at a time, and then you put it all together," said Boxler.

Boxler uses a television with DVD video as an aid in the teaching process. The DVD series was produced by Dr. Paul Lam who, allegedly suffered from arthritis and used the practice of Tai Chi to alleviate his own symptoms.

Tai Chi is a low impact activity, helping participants develop better balance without excessive stress on muscles and joints. The actual process is iconic in many ways. Perhaps you can recall seeing Tai Chi being performed in movies or television programs? Usually a small group of people, slowly moving in unison in a park, or metropolitan area. It's now arguably as much a part of American culture as Chinese culture.

Participants should be lauded, after all it's not easy to overcome the will to be sedentary. It's difficult to put yourself out there and try something new, be it physical, or otherwise: But it can be highly rewarding and worthwhile. The North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging is actively involved in many counties in Kansas. They offer a range of other services. If interested in exploring the company, check out their webpage at


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